Before the race, it was up in the air who the actual leader would be as plenty of chasers in the field possessed early speed.
When the lids lifted, Musquin Bale (6) began tardily and this gave Buckle Up Wes breathing space in the early stages. He charged down the home straight and was able to cross Kiss Me Ketut (1) going into the first corner.
Race favourite Keybow (2) didn’t step well and copped a check from Dyna Nalin (3) just a couple of strides out of the boxes. He was also clipped from behind, momentarily losing balance on his back legs. His strong chasing instincts allowed him to balance up quickly and by the time he was around the first turn, he had moved into fourth position. At this stage, Buckle Up Wes had at least six lengths on the chasing pack, which was led by Kiss Me Ketut and Marcus Joe (8).
Keybow shook off Kiss Me Ketut and Marcus Joe and quickly set off after Buckle Up Wes. Rounding the home turn, it looked like Keybow may grab the front-running Taswegian up the home straight, but the 31kg black chaser stuck on solidly to record his 21st career win. Dyna Nalin (3), who was last in the early stages, came from nowhere to finish third, five lengths off the winner. It was a fantastic run considering how far back he was at the start of the race.
Of the others, Kiss Me Ketut found trouble down the back and ended up finishing seventh. Sixth placed Marcus Joe was up in third in the early stages of the race but was checked by Kiss Me Ketut down the back straight and immediately after that he was involved in some interference with Innocent Til (4), who ended up finishing at the tail end of the field. Hallelujah Henry (5) didn’t get a clear run after leaving the boxes but tried his heart out to finish fourth. Musquin Bale, after the tardy start, was fifth.
Buckle Up Wes, who is trained by Ted Medhurst, had run a place in his last ten starts and ran a placing in the recent Group One Paws of Thunder at Wentworth Park, so his form was spot on. With the addition of $250,000 to the kitty, Buckle Up Wes has now earned $324,000 for connections.